Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UVA researchers make cellular model of Parkinson’s disease

13.02.2004


For the first time, scientists at the University of Virginia Health System have engineered cells that produce the pathological hallmark found in the brain cells of all patients with Parkinson’s disease – Lewy bodies, tiny balls of damaged protein, found only in the brain and discovered more than ninety years ago.



The U.Va. research on Lewy bodies means that scientists now have a model of the pathological changes found in Parkinson’s disease “in a dish” and can use this cellular model for experiments that may show promise in treating or reversing the effects of Parkinson’s. The research is published in the February 2004 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry, which can be accessed on the web at: http://www.jneurochem.org/current.shtml.

“The best way we can study Parkinson’s is through a model that replicates the pathological features of the disease,” said Patricia Trimmer, lead author of the study and associate professor of research at U.Va.’s Department of Neurology. “Previously, the only way we could study Lewy bodies was in brain samples from patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease who had died. This cell culture system provides us with a living pathological model, a new tool.”


Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, rigidity, slowing of movement and difficulty with posture and balance. The disease is caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in a part of the brain, called the substantia nigra, responsible for the production of dopamine, which is essential for nerve cells to function. Up to one million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s and incidence increases with age, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. There is no cure for the disease, but there are treatment options such as surgery and medication to manage the symptoms.

So far, little is known about the development and function of Lewy bodies. With this new model, researchers and clinicians at U.Va. now can study how Lewy bodies form to determine if they are good or bad for the cell. “Clearly something has happened in the cell for Lewy bodies to develop, we just don’t know what,” Trimmer said. “So the question becomes, how can we stop Lewy bodies from forming? Or if Lewy bodies are good, how do we keep them growing? If I stress the cell with free radicals will it make Lewy bodies? Can I interfere with how Lewy bodies are being made? We here at U.Va. are designing experiments now to answer those and many other questions.”

Trimmer and her colleagues at U.Va.’s neurology department worked for more than five years to characterize this cellular hybrid or “cybrid” model of the pathology of a Parkinson’s brain cell. Using a process developed by U.Va. neurologist Dr. W. Davis Parker, Jr., Trimmer and her colleagues treated a human cell line (neuroblastoma) with a chemical that destroyed the DNA found in the cell’s mitochondria, the cellular “power house” responsible for energy production.

Previous research at U.Va., published in the Feb. 1997 issue of the Annals of Neurology, found that Parkinson’s could be passed on by the mother through mutations of mitochondrial DNA. U.Va. researchers found a preponderance of maternal inheritance in families where a Parkinson’s patient has both an affected parent and sibling.

Mitochondrial DNA derived from platelets donated by Parkinson’s disease patients was inserted into these human neuroblastoma cells. To Trimmer’s surprise, Lewy bodies appeared under the microscope several months later. “The only thing we put in these neuroblastoma cells that persists is the mitoDNA and whatever proteins they encode,” Trimmer said. “Something is clearly disturbing the cellular functions so badly that the cell manufactures Lewy bodies and this happens just because we inserted the mitoDNA from a Parkinson’s patient.”

“This work by Pat Trimmer and her colleagues establishes that the cybrid model of Parkinson’s is the most valid model of sporadic Parkinson’s available today,” said Dr. James Bennett, professor of neurology at U.Va. and Director of the Center for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases. “The Lewy bodies arose spontaneously and are such perfect replicas of what is found it the brain.”

Much published research on Parkinson’s involves the study of genes responsible for rare forms of the disease. But the work by the U.Va. team resulted in a model that produces Lewy bodies in sporadic Parkinson’s that afflicts 98 percent or more of Parkinson’s patients, according to Bennett. “Our work shows that mitochondrial DNA is altered in Parkinson’s and can recreate the disease pathology inside cells,” he said.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Bob Beard | U Virginia Health System
Further information:
http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/news/Archives04/parkinsons-study04.cfm
http://www.jneurochem.org/current.shtml

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>